Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership

Requirements (94 units)

The doctoral program in Educational Leadership is a rigorous, research-based program which prepares PreK-12 and Community College leaders who can apply their knowledge base with the critical skills of analysis, inquiry, research and evaluation to contribute to the study, development, and implementation of educational reforms.

Admission to the Program

The Executive Board, with recommendations from the Admissions Committee will oversee the specific admissions processes for the program, review candidate applications and make admissions decisions. The graduate admissions standards of the university shall apply to all Ed.D. candidates.

The Ed.D. program requires the following of applicants for admission to the doctoral program:

  1. A completed application;
  2. An earned baccalaureate degree and master's degree from an accredited institution of higher education with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher in upper-division and graduate study combined;
  3. Official transcripts from each college or university attended since high school graduation (no exceptions);
  4. Submission of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores from three sections of the General Test taken within the last five years with a recommended total score of 1000 or higher;
  5. Three letters of recommendation from professionals in the field attesting to the leadership ability and scholarship potential of the candidate; included shall be one letter from a school site or university administrator and at least one letter from a university faculty member preferably with a doctoral degree that addresses the applicant's potential for academic success in a doctoral program. Letters must be sent directly to the Office of Doctoral Studies.
  6. A written statement of purpose reflecting an understanding of the challenges facing the public schools or community colleges/institutions of higher education in California;
  7. A written detailed plan indicating his/her plan for meeting the demands of the program and his/her professional responsibilities.
  8. Sufficient preparation and experience to benefit from the program;
  9. Demonstrated educational leadership potential and skills including successful experience in school, postsecondary, community, and/or policy leadership;
  10. Demonstrated academic excellence, problem-solving ability, technology proficiency, and interest in critically assessing and bringing about improvements to current educational policies and practices; and
  11. A personal interview.

Requirements for Graduation

  1. A minimum of 76 units of the total 94 units required must be at the doctoral (700) level. The remaining 18 units must be at the 500-700 level;
  2. At least 70 units required for the degree shall be completed in residence;
  3. The overall grade point average must be at least a 3.0, and grades in individual courses must be a "C" or better. Courses in which no letter grade is assigned shall not be used in computing the grade point average. Students with a grade point average below 3.0 in two successive terms will be disqualified from the program;
  4. The Ed.D. program is designed to be completed in three calendar years, including three required summer sessions. However, students are allowed five years for completion. Extensions of up to two additional years may be granted if there are compelling individual circumstances;
  5. After completion of all course work and successful completion of the qualifying examination, the student will advance to candidacy and undertake the dissertation. No more than 16 quarter units shall be allowed for a dissertation;
  6. Continuous enrollment is a requirement of the program. If extenuating circumstances require that the student leave the program for a period of time, the student must file a Leave of Absence. The doctoral faculty will consider an adjusted schedule and an individualized plan;
  7. Ed.D. students may be permitted to repeat one course one time only by petition to and approval of the Ed.D. Faculty Program Assessment and Evaluation Committee. When approved, the original course grade on the student's permanent record will be discounted. Only the second grade earned shall apply to the student's cumulative post baccalaureate grade point average. The first attempt will show on the transcript with the repeat (discount) noted. Subsequent repeats of a course will be averaged.
  8. Generally, a grade grievance must be initiated by the student within no more than 40 calendar days after the grade is recorded. Non-academic grievances and complaints must be filed within no more than 40 calendar days after the student learned or reasonably should have learned of the occurrence of the grievance/complaint event.


The Ed.D. Program includes rigorous classes, a qualifying examination, and written and oral defense of both a Dissertation Proposal and Dissertation, passage of which is required for student progression to program completion and degree conferral

  1. Qualifying Examination.
    The qualifying examination is based on the student's approved literature review and is a rigorous assessment of student knowledge in response to questions generated by the Qualifying Examination Committee.
  2. Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations.
    The qualifying examinations are administered at a time in the program sequence when the candidate's mastery of the majority of the core leadership and methodological elements can be fairly evaluated and when the candidate is ready to begin his/her dissertation research.
    Once students have passed their qualifying examination, a proposal for the dissertation is written and defended orally during the third year in the program. Once the student's proposal (both written and oral) has been approved, they bridge the transition from coursework to the actual writing of the dissertation.
    The final step in the program is the written dissertation and oral defense.
  3. Dissertation Proposal and Dissertation Final
    Examination (Written)
    The dissertation research will focus on a significant professional problem or issue and will have the potential to contribute, generally or in the context of a particular educational institution, to the improvement of public PreK-12 or community college education. Work in support of the dissertation is embedded throughout the Ed.D. curriculum. However, formal dissertation research is subject to (a) passage of the dissertation proposal examination which constitutes formal approval for the candidate to proceed with the dissertation research as proposed and (b) approval of human subjects by the Institutional Review Board. The dissertation must demonstrate a strong scholarly and professional foundation of knowledge on the part of the candidate and must demonstrate the candidate's ability to apply this knowledge to rigorous study of PreK-12 or community college education.
    The student must submit his/her dissertation proposal for approval following the procedures and format established by the campus program faculty. The dissertation proposal will contain, at a minimum, a description of the problem, a review of the relevant literature, a statement of the research question, and a description of the research methodology. The proposal must contain either (a) materials that have already been submitted to the Institutional Review Board regarding the proposed dissertation research or (b) materials completed for submission to the Institutional Review Board to meet human subjects requirements.
    The dissertation proposal examination is ordinarily conducted by a three member committee that includes (a) two tenured or tenure-track members of the Ed.D. program faculty and (b) one member from the affiliated core faculty. The committee reviews the dissertation proposal and communicates formally in writing to the student its (a) approval, (b) approval with modifications, or (c) lack of approval. In the case of approval with modifications or lack of approval, the committee will communicate to the student in writing the process and expectations for resubmission. If the student is required to resubmit the proposal, the committee will review the revised proposal and communicate the outcome to the student in writing. The student must receive written approval of the proposal by the committee and written notification by the Institutional Review Board that human subjects review requirements have been met in order to proceed with the formal conduct of the dissertation research.
    The dissertation is the written product of the research undertaken in accordance with the approved proposal. The dissertation will state the research problem and question(s), describe the primary theoretical perspectives of the research, identify the major assumptions, explain the significance of the undertaking and relate it to the relevant scholarly and professional literature, describe the research methods, the sources for and methods of gathering data, the approaches used for analyzing the data, the findings based on the analysis of the data, and the conclusions or recommendations. The dissertation will reflect original analysis and independent, critical thought.
    Final Examination (Oral)
    The student is required to present the proposal orally to the committee and respond to committee members' questions about the proposal. The proposal defense must be completed prior to the end of the first quarter (fall quarter) in Year III of the program. This examination will be administered by the dissertation committee. Unanimous agreement of the dissertation committee is required for approval of the dissertation and recommendation that the Ed.D. degree be conferred. In the event that the dissertation committee requires substantive changes to the dissertation, the final vote of the committee will be postponed until the changes are completed.
    Submission of the approved dissertation is the last step in the program leading to the awarding of the Ed.D. degree. The dissertation must be submitted by the specified deadline. The dissertation format must conform to CSUSB's approved dissertation manuscript requirements as outlined in the Student Handbook. The final copy of the dissertation must be approved by the dissertation committee and the Office of Graduate Studies.

Degree Requirements (94-96 units)

EDUC 700Scientific Inquiry4
EDUC 702Foundations in Education and Leadership5
EDUC 707Quantitative Research Methods4
EDUC 709Diversity and Equity in Education4
EDUC 712Qualitative Research Methods4
EDUC 714Educational Systems as Cultural and Social Systems4
EADM 732Fiscal Planning and Facilities Management5
EDUC 734Strategic Human Resource Management5
EDUC 720Advanced Quantitative Research Methods4
or EDUC 722 Advanced Qualitative Research Methods
EDUC 726Ethical Leadership and Decision Making in Education4
Eight units at the master's level which relate to the student's area of dissertation study chosen in consultation with the student's dissertation chair and the program director.8
Optional: Required courses must be completed before these units can be taken:
Special Topics in Educational Leadership
Independent Study
Specialization: Students must take all courses within one of the specializations.22-24
EDUC 790Research Seminar (1 unit for a total of 5)5
EDUC 799B-FDissertation (2-6 units for a total of 16)16
Total Units94-96


P-12 Specialization (22 units) (Program Code: ELPT)

EADM 730Politics, Legislative Action and Educational Change4
EDUC 705Organization and Administration of School Systems/Community Colleges4
EDUC 718Strategic Planning, Accountability and Change5
EADM 736Instructional Leadership and Learning Strategies4
EADM 738Assessment and Evaluation5
Total Units22

Community College Specialization (24 units) (Program Code: ELCC)

EDUC 760Foundations of Community Colleges and other Higher Education Systems4
EDUC 762Higher Education Strategic Planning, Accountability, and Change5
EDUC 764Fostering Student Learning and Success5
EDUC 766Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education5
EDUC 768Higher Education Governance and Policy5
Total Units24